The Biggest Royal Snubs Of All Time
History, politics, fabulous clothes — Netflix’s The Crown has a lot to give when it comes to tempting would-be binge watchers. But in between all the important historical bits, we all know what we’re really watching for: the SNUBS. The royal family have turned snubbing one another (and occasionally outsiders) into a tradition worthy of a million tabloid stories (and believe us, the tabloids are well on their way to hitting that number).
Anyone with big dreams to join the royal family just has to take one look at the news to see the kind of scrutiny newcomers are often put under — who has time to learn what all those outfits are for? While it’s fun to watch, we have to think that the pressure of withstanding the heat of being in the royal family is a lot to handle. So, let’s put away the tiaras and crowns and enjoy our lives as commoners as we review the snubs that have us reconsidering all of our fairytale wishes.
Queen Elizabeth refused to attend Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles' wedding
The decades-long love affair between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles should sound like a fairy tale. Unfortunately for the couple, the world tends to see this relationship as one borne of tragedy in the wake of Princess Diana’s death– and Queen Elizabeth seems to agree. Camilla’s long-standing affair with Charles has attracted the queen’s ire for many years now.
Charles and Camilla have been the subject of palace drama since the early 1970s, when they briefly dated. According to the BBC, Camilla became engaged to Andrew Parker Bowles shortly after. Camilla continued to be a figure in Charles’ life. She was even present at the wedding of Charles and Diana. People claimed that Charles and Camilla restarted their relationship in 1986, which put pressure on Charles’ marriage — in an infamous BBC interview, Diana said that her marriage was “a bit crowded” as “there were three of us” involved.
The queen was furious about Camilla’s role in ending Charles’ marriage, with the Daily Mail reporting a tipsy Queen Elizabeth even went so far as to call Camilla a “wicked woman.” The queen did, however, give Charles permission to marry Camilla and hosted their reception, but refused to attend their 2005 “civil marriage ceremony.” While that certainly sounds like a snub, The Telegraph reported the real reason for the queen’s absence was that her “duties as the head of the Church of England” prevented her from attending a civil union held outside the church.
Princess Diana was stripped of her title
Perhaps the most famous royal snub occurred in 1996, when Princess Diana “was stripped of her title of Her Royal Highness,” forcing her to go by Diana, Princess of Wales. Mirror reports that the loss of the title meant the loss of any “connection” to the throne, and would force her to “curtsy to her husband, her two sons, and a whole host of minor royals.” Diana agreed to give up the title in exchange for a large sum of money and the continued use of her royal apartments, although she was reportedly distraught over Charles’ insistence on taking the name away.
Mirror further claimed that the incident prompted a then 14-year-old Prince William to console his mother about the title, promising that he would “give it back” once he became king. Unfortunately, Diana died in a tragic car accident in 1997, and although the BBC reported soon after her death that there were calls to restore Diana’s HRH status, the Spencer family stated that Diana “would not have wanted any change to the style and title she had at the time of her death.”
Wallis Simpson was shunned from the royal family
Before we had Megxit, twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson’s marriage to the Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII) ruled as the biggest royal marriage scandal in recent history. Edward famously abdicated the throne in order to wed Simpson, who divorced her second husband to be with the duke. Edward was reportedly madly in love with Wallis — TIME reported that “Edward cried ‘I will!’ in a shrill voice that was almost a scream” when asked if he would honor his vows at the altar. Cute, right? Maybe “shrill” isn’t how we’d describe our Prince Charming, but the move still seems pretty romantic.
The royal family, however, was not charmed by Edward’s devotion to his American bride. Unsurprisingly, The Firm absolutely did not approve of the marriage. The entire royal family skipped the wedding, and the couple was banished to France, only permitted to return to England if King George VI allowed it. The Guardian even reported that the Crown used financial “blackmail” to keep the scorned lovers at bay and warned that their return to England could “lead to public demonstrations or disorder.”
Soon after he became king, however, George created the Duke of Windsor title to allow Edward to retain his HRH status. The decree, however, specifically stated that the duke’s “wife and descendants, if any, shall not hold said title or attribute” (via The Crown Chronicles). Yikes! The best snubs, it seems, are issued by royal decree.
The royal family left Meghan out of Harry's social media birthday tribute
On social media, a little pettiness goes a long way. Although brothers Prince William and Prince Harry have reportedly been on the outs since around 2017, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge still made an effort to wish Harry a happy 36th birthday in 2020 via Instagram and Twitter. The post read “Wishing a very happy birthday to Prince Harry today!” and included a photograph of Harry running a charity race with his brother and sister-in-law. The rest of the family joined in; similarly sweet posts were seen on the Twitter accounts of the royal family and Prince Charles. Cute, right?
Apparently not, to some folks. Vanity Fair reports that a “mini-controversy erupted” when a comment (which gained “more than 4,000 likes”) pointed out that the posts left out photos of Meghan entirely while including photos of Harry with the rest of his family members. Celebrity publications including Elle and OK! bolstered the claim — why else would the post neglect to include the most important person in Harry’s life? Royal superfan blog Gert’s Royals defended the crown: “Looking back at the other Royal Birthday tweets this year, most did not include the spouse in the photo.” Who knows? While additional drama is always developing between the brothers, the case that Will’s post was not an intentional slight can also be made — Will and Kate wished Meghan a happy birthday in a sans-Harry post just a month before.
Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding snub
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew married in 1986 in a lavish Westminster Abbey ceremony that gave Britain “Fergie Fever,” according to The New York Times. The pair divorced in 1996, following some scandalous 1992 photographs of her laying topless while her “financial advisor” got intimate with her toes (which seems like perfect royal behavior to us, but what do we know?). And yet, People reported Andrew and Fergie continued living together at the Royal Lodge, and, as of 2018, remain close friends. Her friendship, however, apparently does not extend to the rest of the royal family.
The nastiest bit of royal wrath to fly her way happened in 2011, when Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot. Although Fergie’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie — the queen’s grandchildren — were invited, Fergie was not, as she later confirmed in an interview with Oprah (via BBC). To escape the festive buzz and drown her woes, she flew to Thailand, where she said in the same interview that “the jungle embraced [her].”
Fergie revealed in the Oprah interview that being nixed from the guest list was “so difficult.” She said that although Andrew helped her feel like she was part of the big day by keeping in touch with her during the celebration, it was still very painful to be left out: “It was so hard because the last bride up that aisle was me.”
Princess Margaret even snubbed Diana at her funeral
Most outsiders, including Princess Diana, have a tough time fitting in with the royal family from the get-go. The infamously grueling “Balmoral Test” (via Harper’s Bazaar) is proof that impressing royals is a lot tougher than just knowing which fork goes with the salad. Diana apparently had a particularly hard time managing Princess Margaret, Prince Charles’ aunt and Queen Elizabeth’s only sibling. It seems that any welcoming sentiment Margaret may have had did not withstand royal scandal.
According to Craig Brown, author of Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret (via Fox News), Margaret was reportedly furious at Diana for giving intimate details of the affair between Charles and Camilla during her 1995 interview with Martin Bashir (which BBC is now investigating after Diana’s brother claimed the interview was held under false pretenses). Brown told Fox News that “Margaret was very unforgiving. She wouldn’t even have magazines with Diana’s face on the cover nearby. She would turn them over.”
The interview so incensed Margaret that she reportedly disliked Diana until the very end. Brown also claims Margaret refused to give a real bow to Diana’s casket, instead giving “the most cursory of nods, almost as though she were warding off a fly,” and that she “scoffed” at the notion of a statue of Diana at Kensington Palace: “I’m not having that woman outside my bedroom window.” To give credit where credit’s due, however, Princess Margaret did manage to turn snubbing into a spectator sport.
Queen Elizabeth revoked Meghan and Harry's royal patronages
On February 19, 2021, Buckingham Palace released a statement announcing that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry “will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family” and would also lose all of their royal patronages or military appointments. The move, which stripped Meghan and Harry of their official service roles, came as Queen Elizabeth declared that the couple could not “continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service” if they were to permanently step down from their roles as senior royals.
Although this was all purportedly coordinated and arranged between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Crown, the former’s response to The Firm’s statement carried an air of shade. It declared, in part, that they are perfectly capable of living “a life of service,” thank you very much: “Service is universal.” Express reports that a palace insider called Meghan and Harry’s statement “petulant.” Perhaps The Firm is just upset that the circle of snubbery they started is coming back to bite them?
In Meghan and Harry’s explosive March 2021 interview with Oprah, they both claimed they maintain a warm personal relationship with the queen. They also, however, made a clear distinction that the so-called “Megxit” happened because both the royal family and the “institution” that runs its day-to-day business were complicit in “perpetuating falsehoods” about them, and failing to support them in the face of vicious media attacks.
Diana snubbed Anne at Prince Harry's christening
Princess Diana was not the victim in this one; we love it when the snubee becomes the snubber! Princess Anne apparently made it no secret that she did not feel that her sister-in-law Diana was fit to be part of the royal family. According to biographer James Whitaker (via Vanity Fair), “Anne was irritated by Diana, the constant carry-on in the press about her clothes and her charm.” Royal reporter Richard Kay also claimed in the Channel 5 documentary Paxman on the Queen’s Children (via Express) that Anne “had no time for Diana,” and that her own “traditional approach to monarchy and royal duty” was at odds with Diana’s newfound celebrity.
Anne’s feud with Diana came to a head in 1984 after the birth of Prince Harry. Apparently, Diana neglected to invite Anne to be Prince Harry’s godmother. When asked about Anne as a potential godmother for her future children, Diana made her feelings very clear, according to Whitaker, who relayed her alleged retort: “I just don’t like her. She may be wonderful doing all that charity work for Save the Children and others, but I can do it as well.” In retaliation, Anne reportedly refused to attend Harry’s christening, blaming “a shooting party” for her absence as she “could not leave her guests.” Whitaker claims the excuse “fooled no one.”
Prince Andrew was ignored on social media on his birthday
Sure, most royal snubs are petty and pointless, but now and again they are definitely well-deserved. Following the fallout from his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein, the Mirror reported that Prince Andrew was apparently ignored by the Queen’s official social media accounts on his 61st birthday. While most royals receive a social media birthday tribute via the Crown’s official Instagram and Twitter accounts, Prince Andrew received only a brief mention on the Royal Family’s Twitter. Typically, the queen’s beloved relatives are usually celebrated with a sweet message, like this one celebrating Kate’s birthday on Jan. 9, 2021. Prince Andrew’s birthday tweet, however, was straight out of a museum brochure, featuring an #onthisday hashtag, a couple of historical photos, and a complete lack of the words “happy birthday.”
The situation has apparently caused strain between the queen and Andrew, who some people (that is, anyone who’s watched season 4 of The Crown) believe is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite child. At first, it seemed she was not taking the scandal seriously enough — in 2020, the Queen received plenty of nasty Twitter replies for wishing Andrew “Happy Birthday” post-Epstein. In the age of Megxit, however, we’re guessing Queen Elizabeth, or whoever controls her social media channels, is more attuned now than ever to those messages.
The official rebuke of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry signed off their tenure as senior members of the royal family with a final official public appearance at the 2020 Commonwealth Day service (shown above). Reportedly, Meghan and Harry were not allowed to join the procession of royals that included other members of the royal family. Instead, they were to find their seats ahead of time and wait for the rest of The Firm — a move which body language expert Judi James told Cosmopolitan had Prince Harry feeling “tense.”
The Daily Mail speculated that in an attempt to smooth over the awkward tension, William and Kate skipped the procession and joined Meghan and Harry in their seats (but not before extending an awkward, “curt” greeting to the couple) before the ceremony began. Buckingham Palace, however, offered no official explanation for why William and Kate headed directly to their seats.
Unfortunately, 2,000 programs had already been printed showing that Will and Kate were originally supposed to be part of the main procession and “making no mention at all of Harry and Meghan,” according to historian Robert Lacey’s book Battle of Brothers (via Newsweek), making the snub glaringly obvious for anyone in attendance at the event. Good attempt at a save, Will and Kate, but we’re with Meghan and Harry on this one.
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